The Chant of Tom E. Lewis
One of our greatest actors receives the prestigious Red Ochre Award.
Actor, musician and artistic director Tom E. Lewis has been honoured with the
2006 Red Ochre Award by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.
The Red Ochre Award was established by the Australia Council for the Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board in 1993. The award recognises and honours an Indigenous artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the development and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture, both nationally and internationally.
Tom was propelled to prominence as the title character in Fred Schepisi’s 1977 film The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, and has since developed a formidable career in the arts spanning film, television, music, theatre, community cultural development, animation projects and festival artistic direction.
He has starred in films such as The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, We of the Never Never, The Proposition and Crocodile Dreaming. His theatre work includes productions with Melbourne Theatre Company; Playbox Theatre (now Malthouse Theatre); Melbourne Workers Theatre and Handspan Theatre Company, with whom he devised the internationally successful semi-autobiographical work Lift “˜Em Up Socks.
Dr Chris Sarra, chair of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, says that Tom E. Lewis is an artist who embodies an amazing and generous artistic energy across an array of artistic practice including film, theatre, music and community cultural development.
“˜I am proud to acknowledge that Tom embodies the principles of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board in claiming, controlling and enhancing Indigenous culture among our country’s Indigenous communities,” he says.
“I applaud him for his role in passing on the pride and tradition of Indigenous arts to young and old people alike.”
Previous recipients of the annual award include Torres Strait singer/songwriter Seaman Dan, basket weaver Dorothy Peters, actor Justine Saunders, visual artist John Bulunbulun, photographer Mervyn Bishop and actor/director/playwright the late Bob Maza.